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NCAA adds three to Ducks’ championships squad

Oregon’s NCAA roster got longer Tuesday night after the NCAA championship committee granted the Ducks three at-large invites for next week’s nationals.

They were given to redshirt junior Colin Veldman and seniors Akobundu Ikwuakor and Amber McGown in light of their top-12 finishes at regionals.

The addition brings Oregon’s NCAA contingency to 21 athletes.

Ten of those will come from the men’s team, 11 from the women’s. Ikwuakor seemed likely to enter the field after narrowly missing a top-five finish in the 110-meter hurdles at regionals. The senior from Arvada, Colo., finished three hundreths of a second behind fifth-place finisher Justin Wickard of Utah State.

Ikwuakor’s at-large bid was awarded for his effort in the 400 hurdles, however, an event he has had peaks and valleys with this outdoor season. Ikwuakor finished eighth at regionals. He enters the NCAAs as the No. 20 seed.

Ikwuakor’s invite came a day after being named one of the men’s team’s co-Most Inspirational athletes at the Oregon awards banquet. He shared the honor with Jordan Kent.

McGown was also recognized at the banquet. She was awarded the Tom Heinonen Award for her effort both in middle distance events and as the cross country team’s top runner.

McGown will run the 1,500 meters as the No. 11 seed after placing 10th in the event at Regionals. Veldman finished ninth in the hammer at regionals.

Since transferring to Oregon last year, the Ft. Collins, Colo., native has done it all for the Ducks in the throwing ring. Aside from the hammer, he finished in the top 20 in both the shot put and discus at Regionals.

As with Ikwuakor, Veldman will be the No. 20 seed in his event at the NCAAs.

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